9 Ways to Tackle Post-Lunch Procrastination
The post-lunch slump can seem like an inevitable struggle for many employees, but there are ways you can overcome procrastination. Find out how here.
Whether you run your own business or are an employee of a larger business, it’s common to hit a creative or productive wall at some point throughout the day. More often than not, it’s in the afternoon, when the morning rush is over but there’s still important work to be done. This phenomenon is so common that it’s known universally as the ‘afternoon slump’. Whether you’ve just returned from an extended office lunch or eaten at your desk, getting back to work after your break can be easier said than done. Here, we’ll give you 9 tips to stop your post-lunch procrastination and get back into the zone.
1. Take a break
Yes, this may sound counterproductive because you just had your lunch break, but there’s a lot to be said for a quick 10 minute recharge session. The key here is to momentarily take yourself away from your desk and clear your headspace. You can do a quick walk around the office, or even better, step outside into the sunshine. Many people are surprised how much of a difference this makes. When you consider the time-cost ratio of post-lunch procrastination versus a 10 minute timeout, refreshing yourself by walking away is a much economically better option. On a larger scale, employees having a healthy work-life balance also benefits the business.
2. Choose your lunch wisely
If you find that you’re often demotivated or tired after lunch, then it could be because of what you’re eating. If you eat lunchtime meals which contain refined carbohydrates, they can lead to a drop in Insulin levels (and hence fatigues or post-lunch procrastination) a short time later. Doctors recommend protein-rich foods for sustained energy. However, if you can’t give up that pizza or steak sandwich, it’s not the end of the world because your energy levels will eventually stabilise later in the afternoon.
3. Work on a different task (for now)
Similar to our first tip, getting your mind off the task you’re procrastinating about can be the best thing for it. To keep yourself productive, turn your mind to another task you have due. It can be something as simple as some admin maintenance, or getting started on a new project early. Doing this will allow you to take a break from the vicious cycle of procrastination and return to your task with a new perspective.
4. Set simple and attainable goals
Often, tasks which cause post-lunch procrastination are tasks which feel daunting. Whether it’s the amount of work involved or the complexity of what you have to do, it can be more manageable in bite-sized pieces. Break down the overarching task into smaller tasks which are due in smaller instalments. Before you know it, you’ll have completed a large number of them and you’ll feel more equipped to tackle what’s left.
5. Reward yourself
Offering yourself rewards for completing certain elements of your task will incentivise you to get it done. For example, you can reward yourself with an afternoon biscuit or a 5 minute break once you get over the first hurdle. However, it can also be a more significant reward such as letting yourself go out for drinks with your coworkers at 5pm if you get your work done by that time.
6. Bounce ideas off your coworkers
Collaboration and cooperation in the workplace has many benefits. One key benefit, is being able to share ideas. Inform your coworkers you’ve hit a mental roadblock and ask them for their input into your project. Even if it’s someone who does not normally work in your team, the different ideas they might bring may be enough to inspire you to get back on track, or fuel you with the creative juice you need.
7. Step out of the perfectionist mentality
It’s always important to remember that no one, and no employee, is perfect. Every member of a workplace has strengths and weaknesses, it’s just a matter of using them effectively. Part of the cause of procrastination can be a need to do every task flawlessly. Realising that your task (depending on what it is) does not need to be perfect first time around can allow you to get back to it and refrain from catastrophising.
8. Listen to your favourite song or podcast (on repeat if necessary)
Music can be a huge motivating factor, and there’s a reason it’s always being played at gyms. Listening to your favourite song will not only lift your mood, but it will also inject you with the energy you need to buck-down and get started on your work. If you’re more inspired by an entrepreneurial TED talk or podcast, these can also have the same effect. The aim here is to listen to something that motivates you.
9. Remove distractions to defeat your post-lunch procrastination
Sometimes a good dose of discipline is exactly what you need to get back on track. If you find that having multiple tabs open on your browser clutters your mind, then only open your screen to the pages you need for your task. At the same time, you can also momentarily disable your email and phone alerts, so you don’t get taken away from your task. At the same time, it’s also worth letting your colleagues know that you need to concentrate without distractions. This way, you won’t be tempted by the 4pm call for Friday office drinks. You can also tie this into tip 5 by rewarding yourself with a beer or glass of wine with your workmates when you’ve done the work.
Jackie is the Content Manager at Lawpath and manages the content team. She has a Law/Arts (Politics) degree from Macquarie University and is an admitted solicitor in the Supreme Court of NSW. She's interested in how technology can help shape the future legal landscape.